Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he has "genuine" affection for Narendra Modi and that is what he tried to show when he hugged the prime minister after watching him become "very angry" in Parliament.
Interacting with women students of a city college, he recalled the day he hugged Modi and said he cannot hate him since love "is in the country's grain, every religion, and the Tamil people".
When a student asked why he chose to hug the prime minister, Gandhi said he watched a 'very angry' Modi in Parliament running down his party, his late father Rajiv Gandhi and mother Sonia.
However, deep inside, he said, he felt affection for Modi and he thought Modi was angry "because he is not able to see the beauty of the world".
"So I thought that at least from my side, I should show him some affection."
When Rahul said, "I genuinely feel love for the Prime Minister," the students broke into laughter and raised their voices, to which he repeated "I genuinely do (love him)."
The Congress leader, participating in his first such interaction during his one-day tour of Tamil Nadu, said people who do not have affection towards others are the ones who are not loved.
"... And that was why he (Modi) generates anger," he claimed.
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In 2014, when Congress lost the Lok Sabha polls, it felt disappointed, but offered the best outcome, which was about understanding, learning politics, people and humility, he said.
"I learnt from Modi that when he attacks me, throws anger at me, he trains me not to reply in anger.. so I cannot hate Modi.. do you hate people who teach you things.. no," he said.
"This is the lesson for you young ladies... your biggest teachers are the people who attack you, who abuse you... they are your biggest teachers, you will only learn from them if you don't return them anger."
Gandhi said if both sides exchanged only hate, "you learn nothing and if they hate you and you go and hug them you learn a lot," he said to big rounds of applause.
Also, the nature of the country and Tamil people was such that the more one was attacked, such a feeling was reciprocated with more love, he said.